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A Year of Growth and Saying Goodbye to 2020

Written by: Felicia Shanken, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Do you realize in roughly 2 weeks, we will say goodbye to one of the most interesting years that any of us ever had to get through? Think about that for a moment, did you grow? Here we go!


The year 2020 came in like a lamb and is leaving like a Tasmanian devil. All the vision boards or books couldn’t have prepared us for what was about to happen. The world was sent to their rooms and given a TIMEOUT!

How many of you have taken the time to reflect on your lives, family, friends, businesses, or personal freedom? I never thought that a simple handshake would be taken for granted. Our lives have changed and will never be the same.


Like many of you, I also have suffered the loss of saying goodbye to friends and those who were like family. Some were COVID-19- related, and other natural causes. I feel as if 2020 was saying, “wake up,” time is of the essence. Be grateful for all you have regardless of where you are in life right now. This, too, shall pass. One thing I do know is the GROWTH I have gained this year from just taking the extra time that was given to re-evaluate everything in my life.


These are some of the lessons I have learned in 2020:


1. Letting Go of Things I Can’t Control


How many times have I brought wasteful energy to a situation that I had no control over? Countless times, especially this year, I realized I had to make peace with 2020 and let it do what it wanted. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. So I embraced it and worked around the storm.


2. Reevaluating My Relationships


I think this was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn. When I say relationships, I mean all of them across the board — family, friends, and business associates.


It’s funny when you think about it. Time has a way of “calling” us out, and this year it was done in a big way. I don’t know about most of you, but clarity was definitely a friend of mine this year. Life is like a metamorphosis. We shed things we don’t need and gravitate towards things just like us, and we plant our seeds there. I said goodbye to some relationships that no longer served either one of us.


It wasn’t on a bitter note, at least not on my part, I looked at it as a lesson that I needed in my life when it was there, and now it’s gone. Some of the best lessons I have learned in my life are from people who are no longer a part of my journey, and it’s OK. As a matter of fact, I thank them because I learned my worth, and I am aware of what I don’t need and who I can become, so again I THANK THEM!


3. Speaking Up For What I Want


My dear friends, I hate to tell you this, but no one is coming to save you. Yes, you read that, right! Have you heard the expression “closed mouths, don’t get fed?” Exactly! We have been living in a digital world on steroids since March 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions began in the US and EU.


Just about everyone, especially if they have a business, is competing for the same things you are — “other’s business.” We look at computer screens all day, every day, and try to have some sense of normalcy while doing so. You have to decide what you can do to make yourself stand out from everyone else. Now comes “the thinking out of the box” mindset. I cannot tell you how many times I have shared with women in my organization the art of pivoting your mindset and business if you don’t want to go out of business. Of course, this is not the case for everyone because they may work from home versus brick and mortar.


My heart goes out to all those businesses that had to close their doors for good. Small businesses are the backbone of the world.


I was very vocal this year. I knew what I wanted to do, why and how I wanted to do it, who I had to do it with, and I went for it — and I’m so glad that I did. Collaboration is one of the best things in the world, especially if you are a small business owner. I see this being the foundation moving into 2021 for a lot of small businesses.


My advice for you, take the leap. If it works out, great, and if it doesn’t, you learned a valuable lesson. Either way, it’s a win-win situation. Right?


4. Being Thankful & Grateful For All Things


Some of you may disagree with this, but I believe being thankful and grateful for everything is the foundation for everything in your life, especially now. I have lost some people this year, and it hurt like hell.


I wake up to see a new sunrise every day, and that is a gift. I am grateful that those in my family affected by COVID-19 recovered and are still here with us. I am thankful for new relationships made during this year’s journey.


Even though there was much sadness in 2020, somehow, my year was not a total bust. I have a lot to be grateful and thankful for. Some situations, I believe, I would not have gained clarity on had we not been given this time.


I believe God has a sense of humor, and when He can’t subtly get our attention, He brings out the big guns, and boy oh boy, in 2020, he really showed us his collection. My friends, my hope for you going into 2021 is that you have grown, learned, listened, had compassion, forgiven, and worked on yourself. Here is to a better year in 2021 and more growth coming your way!


Have a great day on purpose, and happy holidays!


For more information, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website!


Read more from Felicia!

Felicia Shanken, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Felicia Shanken is a Women Strategist and Builder. She is the Founder/CEO of the Philadelphia Women's Network Connection, LLC and PWNC Foundation 501(c)(3). PWNC is about helping local businesswomen build their business, connect with like-minded individuals and benefit from shared resources. The Foundation is committed to helping women growing a business as a solo entrepreneur transition from a full-time or part-time job to full-time entrepreneurship. Felicia has also been recognized and honored by "Fun Times Magazine" in their March/April 2020 edition for being "2020 Philadelphia Who's Who Black Women of Influence". Felicia had the opportunity in September 2019 to have her own show on RVNTV, a digital television platform called "Power Up Your Passion," where she brings guests on to talk about their passion in life and how it lead to where they are now. Felicia was raised in Queens, New York. She moved to Philadelphia over 20 years ago, where she met her husband, Paul, a native Philadelphian. They live in the Fairmont area of Center City, Philadelphia.

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